Tips for Parenting an Adolescent with Anxiety

Where Does Anxiety Come From?

Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stressful situations, and being nervous or anxious in some situations or seasons of life is merely a part of the human experience. In many ways, nervousness and anxiety clue us in when there is danger, potential discomfort, or some sort of threat and help us deal with difficult or scary situations.

Your teen may experience a bout of nerves or fear when preparing to make a presentation, starting out in a new school, or talking to someone of the opposite sex. This is likely normal. (However, if you are concerned about your child’s level of anxiety, it is always best to consult a professional, just in case.)

While anxiety is not itself a bad or inherently unhealthy thing, too much anxiety can be harmful, especially for children and teenagers. Controlling, irrational fear, on the other hand, has the potential to be quite damaging for your child if not properly dealt with.

How Do I Know if My Teen Has Anxiety?

Anxiety Disorder is not uncommon, but it does come in varying degrees and can be difficult to spot. When talking with your child, here are a few questions you may wish to ask gently:

  • “Why do you feel anxious?”: If your child feels anxious for legitimate reasons, this may not be reason enough to pursue therapy, counseling, or other mental health care. However, it may indicate that your child’s emotional health can be improved by addressing the source of anxiety, such as not having enough time to study, feeling unsafe at home or at school, feeling overwhelmed by a packed schedule, or any other circumstantial basis for feeling worried and stressed.
  • “How much time do you spend worrying about stressful things?”: If your child is spending an excessive amount of time and energy worrying about things, it could be a sign that they have too much anxiety or that they aren’t dealing with it in a healthy way. For example, worrying about an upcoming test is normal, but if a child experiences stress dreams, loss of appetite, or emotional breakdowns in response to the upcoming test, they may have too much anxiety or may not know how to deal with stress properly.
  • “Do you compulsively check on things?”: Repeatedly checking on the same things to ensure they are done correctly is an anxious behavior. If your child is constantly checking things to make sure they haven’t made a mistake, this could be a sign that they are too keyed up and worried.
  • “Does anxiety ever keep you from functioning properly or cause you to freeze up?”: Too much anxiety can cause your child to have great difficulty interacting with their peers, completing tests, speaking in front of other people, passing a driving exam, or other important things. Worry is one thing, but paralyzing fear is another.

Tips for Discussing Anxiety with Your Child

When speaking with your child and asking about their stress level, remember to be as gentle and non-confrontational as possible in order to encourage honesty, openness, and vulnerability. Children and teenagers whose stress levels are on the fritz may have difficulty discussing their mental health and the sources of their worry, especially if they do not feel as though they can freely discuss their feelings. However, even if your child is not entirely comfortable discussing their anxiety or answering questions, it is still important to bring it up and offer your support and listening ear.

Besides talking about it with them, one of the best things you can do for an adolescent child who is struggling with anxiety is to remain calm and collected, especially when they are at their most worried. Emotional stability on your part can help create a safe environment for teenagers and children dealing with anxiety.

Help for Parents of Adolescents and Teens with Anxiety

If your child is dealing with anxiety, Therapeutic Solutions is here to help. Our team of compassionate mental and behavioral health specialists can help you and your child understand the problem at hand and figure out the best path forward. Our Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Program (A-IOP) allows you to take advantage of the services your child needs while keeping them in school and maintaining your family’s normal routine as much as possible.

Call (530) 899-3150 to learn more about the services we offer and how we can serve your family.


More than Moodiness? How to Know if Your Teen Is Suffering from Depression

The teenage years are already fraught with hormonal, emotional, and social challenges, and tend to be difficult for even the most stable, healthy kids. Because the teen years are inherently difficult, bouts of moodiness or angst are not uncommon. However, depression is not part of the coming-of-age process and should be taken seriously if it rears its ugly head in the life of your child.

Potential Symptoms of Teen Depression

If you suspect your teenage child may be suffering from something more than melancholy, there are a few things you should watch out for. You may have cause for concern if your child exhibits any of the following:

  • Social isolation
  • Disconnection from or conflict with close friends and family members
  • New disinterest in normal hobbies or activities
  • Difficulty with concentration and memory
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Poor performance in school
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Irritability and agitation, even over minor issues
  • Self-harm and self-mutilation
  • Significant weight gain or weight loss
  • Major changes in diet and appetite
  • Angry fits and emotional outbursts

Also pay attention to the ways your child speaks about themselves and the way they talk about the future. Tune in if your child consistently refers to themselves in a derogatory manner or displays signs of self-hatred, shame, or a sense of worthlessness. If your child seems particularly focused on their failures or shortcomings or tends to view the future as bleak and hopeless, these could also be signs of depression.

My Teen Needs Help Immediately – What Can I Do?

Many people who experience depression, especially teenagers, tend to be highly pessimistic about the future, to the point of wanting to take their own life. If your child is having thoughts of suicide or has indicated that they have thought about how they would kill themselves, immediate intervention may be necessary. Call 911 immediately and do not leave your child alone if they have attempted suicide or have indicated that they have made a plan to kill or harm themselves.

How Can I Help My Teenager Deal with Depression?

Symptoms of depression can worsen over time and become more and more heightened and difficult to treat if not addressed quickly. However, parents who are concerned about the wellbeing of a depressed teenager need not go in alone. Our team of therapists at Therapeutic Solutions is here to serve you, your child, and your family during this difficult time and work with you to address the challenges your teen is experiencing.

Call Therapeutic Solutions for Help Treating Teen Depression

Our Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Program (A-IOP) is designed for teenagers who are facing emotional and behavioral difficulties, including depression. While your teen is enrolled in our program, we provide them with helpful tools to foster strong family relationships, positive communication, and healthy conflict resolution, in addition to equipping them with strategies for managing and coping with depression.

One of the greatest barriers to participation in programs like ours tends to be scheduling. In order to ensure your child has access to the help they need, we have structure our A-IOP in order to accommodate your family’s schedule and keep your child in school during regular hours.

For more information regarding our Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Program or any of our other emotional and behavioral health programs, call (530) 899-3150 to speak to one of our caring staff members, or send us an email to request your first appointment.


Local Spotlight on Running Brave: The Race to End Suicide

On March 31, 2018, the Therapeutic Solutions team will be at One Mile Recreation Area for Running Brave Chico: The Race to End Suicide, as volunteers, runners, and a resource for the community. Here at Therapeutic Solutions, our staff and care providers know that our work to support positive mental and behavioral health does not end at our office doors, and that the fight to prevent suicide and promote wellness needs to reach far and wide in the communities we serve. That is why we have chosen to help bring the first Running Brave event to Chico, California.

Running Brave is an effort to raise awareness about suicide and promote initiatives to prevent it. The event originated in Redding but is making its way to Chico at the end of March for the first time. Hundreds of community members will be in attendance as runners, walkers, volunteers, resources, and event supporters, to show their support and raise funds for the local chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This event will be held on Saturday, March 31st from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm, and includes many ways to support the cause:

  • A professionally timed 5K & 10K race
  • A one-mile fun run/walk
  • A Running Brave T-Shirt for all race registrants
  • Prizes for top finishers in each race
  • Pre-race and post-race activities for the community, such as:
    • Music
    • Giveaways
    • Speakers on mental health
    • A local mental health & suicide prevention resource fair

Therapeutic Solutions provides a variety of resources for those who have been impacted by mental and behavioral health concerns. We believe that everyone can get better, and that everyone can find happiness in their lives, and we will continue to do our part to support the patients and clients who seek out our services in their journey to wellness through scientifically proven treatments and compassionate therapeutic services.

But, the work doesn’t end there.

Happiness starts with each and every one of us doing our part to foster wellness in our communities, our families, and ourselves. If you are interested in getting involved in suicide prevention efforts, here are a few ways to get started now:

Find us at our Running Brave table, and let’s continue the conversation about suicide prevention in our communities. We hope to see you on March 31st for the Race to End Suicide.